April 9, 2004
Sarah Tiedge steps in for the latest addition of Q&A with Tiger Rowing. Read what the freshman business major from Pelham, NY had to say about the program below.
What was the best part of your N8+ races in San Diego (Heat of Final)? Around the 1000m mark of our qualifying heat, we started really picking it up and we were able to chip away, seat for seat, at the Cal Novice who, at that point in the race, had almost a whole boat length lead on us. By the end of the race it was stroke for stroke. Although we came in second to them by only 1.3 seconds, it was awesome to race with that type of intensity and competition against such a respected program as Cal.
What has contributed to the success of the team so far this year? The biggest contributor would be the positive inner squad competition. Everyone is very encouraging of each other; we all push each other to go faster every single day whether it’s in the weight room, on the erg, or on the water. Even though we compete with each other for seats, our team is excellent at using that healthy competition to make every boat go as fast as it can. We push and exceed our limits each practice for each other which is what ultimately makes teams fast.
What are you looking forward to this season? I’m really looking forward to ACC’s. Not only is it a great opportunity for Clemson fans to come out and support us, because the race is at home, but we are able to race ranked programs such as Virginia and Duke which will give us even more of an outlook on how we approach and prepare for our regional championship in mid-May.
Why did you choose Clemson? I get that question a lot being from New York and it’s always a difficult one to answer because honestly, I just fell in love with Clemson. I wouldn’t be able to tell you specific aspects that necessarily attracted me; I just came to visit and knew this is where I wanted to be and it would have taken a lot to convince me otherwise.
Why did you choose to row at Clemson? I rowed all through high school and I knew that I wanted to continue a rowing career in college. However, I had no idea if I would be good enough to compete at a Division 1 level. So when I came down to visit Clemson I arranged to meet with Coach Kelly and said, “I want to go here. I want to row and I want to go here and row for you” And here I am now, it really was as simple as that.
Why do you push yourself so hard everyday and put in so many hours? Honestly, because at this point, I can’t imagine not. I love it and wouldn’t want it any other way.
How much of your success comes from mental toughness and how much comes from physical preparedness? They both go very much hand in hand. It’s amazing what your body is capable of when you believe that you can. There’s nothing that our coaches ask us to do that is physically impossible, so I believe that a lot of our successes come from trusting ourselves. We are given all the workouts to physically prepare us but there is so many aspects of rowing that won’t allow you to succeed without that mental toughness and belief.
What were your feelings after the races in San Diego? After the first day of racing we were extremely excited for Grand Finals. We couldn’t wait to get out there and race all the west coast schools that would be in our race. We had already accomplished a lot by being the only east coast team in the Novice Grand Final as well as the first Clemson Novice boat to ever qualify for Grand Finals. However, it’s the nature of the sport and of the athlete to never settle and always want more, so we couldn’t wait to get back out there and get back that 1.3 seconds we lost in day one.
The second day was definitely disappointing. We came in 5th and after the race I truly felt that we didn’t perform as well as we were capable of. It was hard to come off of such an awesome first day and then do as we did on day two. However, we learned a lot from the whole experience that we will carry on with us over the next 4 years and the many races to come.
Tell me what you love about this sport: Oh that’s simple, everything! I love the self discipline, the mental and physical battles you face everyday. I love that look on people’s faces when you tell them you practice every morning and afternoon. I love how rewarding pushing yourself to your limits and then giving more feels and how disappointment and obstacles are used to drive us even more. I love how team oriented and individual the sport is all at the same time and I especially love the people; rowers are unique and we all share a special bond. Its one of the only amateur sports left in the world so everyone who’s in it is all in it for the love of the sport.
What has been the greatest experience for you as a Clemson rower? This year I have grown immensely as an athlete and a person because of rowing. I had a severe knee injury that put me out for two months this year and that really has given me that driving edge this year, the support I got from my teammates and coaches during and when I came back was incredible and much more than I could have asked for. Even though there are so many of us we are still like a family and I’ve learned so much from each person on the team just this year alone and I can’t wait to continue my rowing career here at Clemson.
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